I was born and raised in Indiana, and being surrounded by so much beautiful farmland, I was often disappointed that we didn’t have a proper specialty license plate to celebrate Indiana’s rich agricultural heritage. I mean, for a time we sort of did, yet not officially — I’m talking about the Amber Waves of Grain plate from the mid-’90s, which was a picturesque homage to our productive fields.
Even still, that wasn’t a specialty plate, at least not in the way we think of them today. But Indiana seemed woefully devoid of a respectable selection of plates while I lived there.
These days, the state has well over 100 separate specialty plates — and these are specifically pegged to support organizations or colleges. There needs to be at least 500 plates in circulation for groups to be allowed to have their own plate. Unfortunately, most designs aren’t going to be as eye-catching as other states’, with Indiana usually dialed into a white plate with a benefactor’s logo on the left side.
There are three groups with ties to agriculture that have their own plate: FFA, 4-H, and Indiana Farm Bureau. The specialty plates cost $40, and for the INFB one, $25 of that cost goes to the Farm Bureau Foundation for youth education in Indiana. To date, 1,693 plates have been issued and more than $41,000 has been raised for the foundation.
“Ag education is integral to the future of the farming industry,” said INFB President Randy Kron. “The Farm Bureau Foundation gives youth the opportunity to understand more about the food they eat, where it’s grown and how important farmers are to their daily lives. ”
The plate launched in 2019 to coincide with Indiana Farm Bureau’s 100th anniversary year. At the time, INFM Chief Marketing Director Debra DeCourcy said, “We know we’re one of several great organizations with license plates available that support the agriculture industry in Indiana. That’s a great thing! We’re happy to be yet another avenue for folks to show their support for Hoosier farmers.”
The state has more than 56,000 farms across roughly 15 million acres. Indiana is fifth nationally in the production of corn, soybeans, and hogs, and it is second in popcorn, chicken, and eggs produced. It is also the nation’s leader in commercial duck production.
The license plate initiative helps the dual purpose of educating the state’s youth and promoting agricultural awareness. To date, 1,693 plates have been issued since the program’s launch.
“INFB members and other supporters of agriculture are seen with the plate on their vehicle as they drive throughout the state and even across the country,” said DeCourcy. “That’s great for a nonprofit like us, as we’re always looking to generate awareness and support for Hoosier farmers.”
This is part of a state-by-state series from AGDAILY that highlights agriculture-themed license plates across the nation. Read more articles from the series here.